Imagine a park that caters for the needs of a cross section of the community, including young children, seniors and wheelchair users. We visited just such a park today. Endeavour Park at Kings Langley in Sydney’s Western Suburbs offers some of the most unusual facilities we’ve come across. My friend Sue, who is an Occupational Therapist, enthusiastically told me about the park during the week and we met her family there today. At a glance the newly opened park and playground looks like any other, but on close inspection it has some pretty special features, including an area dedicated to seniors and wheelchair accessible gym equipment.
Although this is called the Seniors Park, the area is fantastic for people of all ages working on physical goals and skills. I can imagine it would be motivating and more fun gaining skills in a park setting. For seniors, the park offers a good opportunity to do some low impact exercise for the body and mind.
A range of equipment makes up the Seniors Park, each station encouraging a different movement and skill.
BJ particularly liked the Wave Bar though couldn’t manage to move the ring along without touching the silver bar. This particular activity encourages strength and mobility in the shoulder, coordination and concentration.
The Memory Game above requires players to find matching symbols by revealing two symbols on the disc at a time. Moving the discs around the board once you have a match is good for mobility of hands and discs.
Finger stairs has been designed to increase dexterity and improve shoulder joints one step at a time.
A slip-proof balance beam has been installed over soft fall providing a safe way to work on balance skills. Good balance is so important for seniors to avoid falls.
Simply stepping up and down increases the heart rate and strengthens leg muscles. A grab bar ensures safety.
WHEELCHAIR GYM EQUIPMENT
BJ keeps at least one arm close to his body at all times to stabilize some of his movement which is a result of his cerebral palsy. Given this is his usual positioning he was reluctant to use two hands on any of the gym equipment. On our first try it was nearly impossible to get him to do so. We left it a while and then tried again. With encouragement from the peanut gallery (our family and Sue’s family) he eventually gave it a good go.
Maintaining grasp was the next challenge but like with all things, I think it would just take persistence and encouragement.
AJ could have a career ahead of her as a personal trainer as she seemed to have the magic touch with getting BJ motivated to use the wheelchair gym equipment.
Gym equipment appropriate for able-bodied visitors is beside the wheelchair accessible gym equipment, allowing a social fitness workout for all abilities.
Endeavour Park has been built on the theme of Captain James Cook’s journey of discovery to Australia on his ship, the Endeavour.
The soft fall for the playground is a full sized outline of the 30-metre ship and a sandpit is in the shape of Tahiti. The sandpit has ramp access which I’ve not seen before.
I’d love to see a raised sandpit added to this playground to compliment the other accessible facilities, especially for kids who can’t get out of their chairs.
Six swings sit side by side including two reclined swings which are designed to be suitable for children with additional needs.
Unfortunately these swings don’t have a harness so I’d suggest taking a Velcro strap if you feel it is necessary. When BJ was younger our Occupational Therapist gave us a basic strap which could be used in this type of situation.
A solid based rocker allows children to lie or sit with their peers to move.
There are slides at the playground but they have steps for access.
Endeavour Park has a hand ball court and fun basket ball hoops which allow scoring.
BJ loved being able to follow the kids into the climbing structure to be a part of the action.
A wheelchair accessible carousel encourages inclusion and socializing at the park.
The park has eight barbecues, undercover shelter which we put to the test in the rain today and a wheelchair accessible bench seat. Concrete paths link the different areas of the park and there’s a large grassed area for ball games.
A stand-alone unisex accessible bathroom is available at the park. It’s spacious and contains a toilet with a back rest, a wheelchair accessible sink with lever tap.
There is no designated accessible parking. Street parking is available in Shanke Crescent, Kings Langley.
Please note the park and playground are not fenced and there is a busy road nearby so it’s not suitable for children who are likely to run away.
We really enjoyed our visit to Endeavour Park and were so impressed by the many accessible elements, especially the wheelchair accessible gym equipment and the Seniors Park. Why shouldn’t grandparents get in some exercise while taking the grandkids to the park.
A big thanks to Sue for telling me about Endeavour Park and taking some of the photos in the blog.
I’d love to hear what you think of this park. Pop your comments below or head over to Facebook to join the discussion.